Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

August 24, 2011 -

Wired's Game | Life taps into the legal expertise of attorney Mark Methenitis to determine if GameStop might face legal action for removing OnLive coupons from PC retail boxed copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Naturally there may be some unforeseen issues at play here that could affect whether Square Enix could sue the top games retailer - like if both companies have an existing agreement or contract that bars Square Enix from including deals from GameStop's direct competitors. That's doubtful considering that GameStop allows games that include Steamworks or the Steam Client on disc.  Steam is clearly a direct competitor to GameStop's Impulse digital distribution platform. Here's what Methenitis thinks about that:

"Existing contracts between GameStop and Square may have barred this kind of promotion, and so GameStop may actually be justified in their action if Square is in breach of some promotion/marketing agreement."

Methenitis also said that GameStop's actions related to OnLive probably did not violate consumers' rights, and even though consumers could sue the company for "deceptive trade practices or fraudulent advertising," they wouldn't have much of a case because the coupon wasn't advertised on the game's packaging.

Methenitis closes by saying that some of GameStop’s policies might have violated Federal Trade Commission policy. One in particular is an employee "rental plan" that lets employees rent brand new games. The problem is that these "rented titles" are brought back to the store and sold as "new" products for full price. This practice has been going on for several years and was the subject of a class action lawsuit against the company which inevitably failed.

Game|Life contacted the Federal Trade Commission for comment and got the following response:

"The FTC Act prohibits unfair and deceptive business practices," an FTC representative told Wired.com. "So if a company misrepresents that a product is new and doesn’t make adequate disclosures that it has been open or used, then that could be considered deceptive."

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Comments

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

so its perfectly legal for them to sell opened, altered, and possibly damaged products at full price?

or did he skip that part?

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

I guess as long as they are not altering known/advertised features, it is probably legal.

Though now I am wondering what kind of case would exist if GameStop had altered something deeper then a cupon... say, the game itself.. remove a few levels and require you to buy alternate versions from their content group.

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

Yes. It is perfectly legal. "New" does not necessarily constitute "sealed". And what the article doesn't mention is that Gamestop does not permit employees from checking out PC titles, due to DRM concerns.

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

What about DRM concerns on console games? Rarer (for now), but still there. See: Borderlands GotY edition.

 

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

If you were talking about the OLD version of the GOTY, then Gamestop employees simply don't use the code. The new versions of GOTY either have the DLC built into the game disc (PS3) or on a seperate disc (Xbox 360).

If you knew how crappy Gamestop treats all their employees that are below an ASM, you probably wouldn't complain about the check-out program. Here's a few fun facts to help.

Fun fact #1: The single most common question asked of any Gamestop employee is "Is (insert game name here) any good? Gamestop employees are obviously expected to own every single game ever released.

Fun fact #2: Despite popular opinion, Gamestop employees do NOT get to play games before their street date. The exception to this, obviously, are the stupid-ass managers who break street date simply because they think they can and that nobody will find out.

Fun fact #2.5: They always find out, sooner or later, and are subsequently fired.

Fun fact #3 (More of a suggestion): If you're really that concerned about getting a sealed copy of a game, then ask for one. If they don't have one, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. I used to be one of those of the mind that a game is somehow tainted if someone else had played it before me. It wasn't until AFTER I had worked for Gamestop that I realized how much of a pretentious douchebag I was.

Fun fact #4 (As stated in the shoutbox): Many Gamestop stores have shrink wrap machines. If all it took to get you to shut up about it is shrink wrap the game before it's sold to you, you'd be none the wiser.

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

All the more reason not to buy new or used above 30$.


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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MaskedPixelantehttp://i5.minus.com/iN5o9iu1ON2NG.jpg "It cursed my gear? WHY WOULD IT DO THAT?! THIS GAME IS BUGGED!"04/24/2014 - 9:51pm
Matthew Wilsonthe lose of nn would not be good for us, but it will not be good for verizion/comcast/att in the long run ether.04/24/2014 - 2:16pm
Matthew Wilsonsadly yes. it would take another sopa day to achieve it.04/24/2014 - 2:13pm
NeenekoI am also confused. Are you saying NN would only become law if Google/Netflix pushed the issue (against their own interests)?04/24/2014 - 2:10pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, you are saying a lot of things but I am still unclear on your point. Are you saying that the loss of Net Neutrality will be good in the long run?04/24/2014 - 2:06pm
Matthew WilsonOfcourse it does I never said it did not.though over time the death of NN will make backbone providers like Google, level3 and others stronger becouse most isps including the big ones can not provid internet without them. they can peer with smaller isps04/24/2014 - 1:54pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, and that still plays in Google's favor over their smaller rivals who don't have the muscle to stand up to ISPs.04/24/2014 - 1:45pm
Matthew Wilsongoogle wont pay becouse they control a large part of the backbone that all isps depend on. if verizon blocks their data, google does the same. the effect is Verizon loses access to 40% of the internet, and can not serve some areas at all.04/24/2014 - 1:14pm
Neenekolack of NN is in google and netflix interest. It is another tool for squeezing out smaller companies since they can afford to 'play'04/24/2014 - 12:57pm
Matthew WilsonI have said it before net nutrality will not be made in to law until Google or Netflix is blocked, or they do what they did for sopa and pull their sites down in protest.04/23/2014 - 8:02pm
Andrew EisenGee, I guess putting a former cable industry lobbyist as the Chairman of the FCC wasn't that great of an idea. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/24/technology/fcc-new-net-neutrality-rules.html?_r=204/23/2014 - 7:26pm
Andrew EisenIanC - I assume what he's getting at is the fact that once PS3/360 development ceases, there will be no more "For Everything But Wii U" games.04/23/2014 - 5:49pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - Yes, obviously developers will eventually move on from the PS3 and 360 but the phrase will continue to mean exactly what it means.04/23/2014 - 5:45pm
IanCAnd how does that equal his annoying phrase being meaningless?04/23/2014 - 5:09pm
Matthew Wilson@Andrew Eisen the phrase everything but wiiu will be meaningless afer this year becouse devs will drop 360/ps3 support.04/23/2014 - 4:43pm
Andrew EisenFor Everything But... 360? Huh, not many games can claim that title. Only three others that I know of.04/23/2014 - 3:45pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.joystiq.com/2014/04/23/another-world-rated-for-current-consoles-handhelds-in-germany/ Another World fulfills legal obligations of being on every gaming system under the sun.04/23/2014 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://arstechnica.com/gaming/2014/04/steam-gauge-do-strong-reviews-lead-to-stronger-sales-on-steam/?comments=1 Here is another data driven article using sales data from steam to figure out if reviews effect sales. It is stats heavy like the last one.04/23/2014 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenI love RPGs but I didn't much care for Tales of Symphonia. I didn't bother with its sequel.04/23/2014 - 11:21am
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